New year, new project

Last year I didn’t start a single photo project. This year, I’m going back to project based photography. 

Why a project?

Well, it turns out I need projects to keep myself motivated. Last year was a complete miss for me photography wise. I didn’t really feel that I made any particular improvements and I didn’t feel comfortable with what I did do. Don’t get me wrong, there are some photos that I’m very happy with. But overall, the year didn’t go well.

Which is actually a real eye-opener for me. At the start of 2018, I was desperate to stop doing photo projects and to have a more simplistic year. But it turns out that when I remove a framework from my photography, I kind of switch off a little. Which isn’t at all what I intended!

So, for 2019, it’s back to a project and a framework to guide me. (And actually, I’ve ended up with three core projects for this year: this photography project, a daily embroidery project and starting a cooking blog. Nothing like really going for it!)

What project?

The tough part of deciding I wanted to do a project this year was deciding what to do. There are so many different varieties of photo projects, and I’ve already done a lot of them. Some of the options include a ‘365’ (daily photos), a ’52 weeks’ (a weekly photo) or a ‘100x’ (100 photos in the year of a certain theme).

I’ve decided that a 365 is a bit too much for me right now, so I’ll be doing a 52 weeks project this year. At a minimum I will take 52 photos in 52 weeks.

I also wanted this project to have a theme so it’s not completely random. My theme: 52 photos of Bert, my Fabuland elephant (along with his friends).

In addition to the photos, I would also like to try and write 52 short stories of Bert’s adventures. (This one might take a little longer to get to grips with, and as of this week, the stories are very short snippets of tales.)

Fabuland Bert in yellow with a yellow mug
Bert and his desperate need for coffee

Ideally, I want my photos to tell some kind of story. This can be as simple as Bert desperately needs a cup of coffee because he and his Fabuland buddies stayed up late to see in the New Year. Or it might be as complicated as his wish to help out Olivia in the garden (which is a much more complicated tale than it might first appear).

Each week I intend to share the photo and short story to Instagram, Flickr and MeWe. In doing this, I hope to be able to work on taking photos that tell a story, rather than just a ‘position and shoot’ photo.

I think it’s good to think about the background of what you are taking and I hope that in this I can show a little more emotion in my photos and start to learn more about storytelling. (On this, Shelly’s previous post about her Chima clan is a great starting point. I still need to write up my Bert character background, but I will do so over the next few weeks, as I work out more about him.)

Fabuland figures in the garden mud
Bert and Ollie, a tale to tell.

So over the year, I’ll check in with an update on my project, and what I’ve learnt about storytelling through photos. I’m not sure where this will go yet, or even if it will work as a project, but I think that for now, it’s an interesting experiment! I’m going to try and do some research into storytelling with photos so if anyone has any interesting resources they know about, please let me know in the comments!

Have you got a project for the year? What are your aims? How do you tell stories through your photos? Is it the pictures themselves, or do the captions add to that? Let me know your thoughts!

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  1. Good luck on your new project.

    It is an interesting question about how to tell stories with photography. I tend to approach photography from the other angle, I have a story to tell, how do I fit it into an image.

    The first thing that question makes me think of is Light, Colour and Gesture, the mantra of the elements of an interesting photograph from one of my photography heros Jay Maisel. Specifically gesture is important when it comes to story telling. This is Jay talking about gesture:

    Hopefully that may spark some discussion about this interesting topic.

  2. brett_wilson

    Oh, I look forward to following Bert on his adventures this year!
    I love the idea of accompanying images with a written narrative. Austin’s ( 21 episodes tale #ToyAtHeartStory last year inspired me to also take on a similar project some time this year.

  3. Janan

    Nice! I look forward to seeing the adventures of the fabulous Fabuland. I do try to tell a story with my images but in recent months, the experiment has been around portraiture and lighting.
    I have a few characters in my mind palace that I feature from time to time with their own adventures – an exploring spaceman, a traveling Krash TV minifig and a lost scout trooper. I got the inspiration from Joecow’s characters and thought it really interesting to have these parallel stories running alongside other images.

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